Some 29% of drinkers voted gin their favourite in a YouGov poll, which included 1,741 adults. This was up from one year ago when gin was in third place. The next two most popular spirit drinks in 2017 were whiskies (25%) and vodka (23%).
‘Mother’s ruin’ continues to be the stand-out spirit in growth with yet another double-digit sales increase across the on and off-trade.
In the 12 weeks up to September 2017, gin sales rose in the on-trade with volume up 23% and values sales up 28%.
British gin sales abroad have also seen a meteoric rise in the UK food and drink exports with sales now worth more than beef and cereals.
The UK hit its largest ever gin exports sales in 2016, worth £474m, making it the world’s seventh most valuable food and drink export.
Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) chief executive Miles Beale said: “The latest WSTA market report is showing yet another sparkling result for gin sales in the UK.
“The British public show no signs of growing tired of trying new gins with more than 100 brands now available on the UK market.
“It comes as no surprise that gin has climbed to the top of a poll of most popular spirit drinks.”
Gin in numbers:
Gin sales in pubs, bars and restaurants have grown 15% by volume in the past year (ending 9 September 2017) to 61,000hls (8.8m bottles) worth £729m (up 25% on the previous year).
The UK consumed the equivalent of 1.32bn G&Ts in the past 12 months (to 9 September 2017).
The UK hit its largest ever gin exports in 2016 – worth nearly half a billion pounds at £474m, about 180m bottles.
The UK exports British gin to 139 countries worldwide.
Since 2012, UK gin exports have risen 32% by value and 37% by volume.
The UK is the biggest gin exporter in the world. The USA, Spain and Germany are the largest export destinations for UK gin by volume.
Gin exports to France, Italy, Portugal and Belgium have all more than doubled by volume in five years.
In March, gin was added to the Office of National Statistics' 'typical shopping basket of goods’ which is used to calculate inflation.
In the 2017 International Wine & Spirits Competition, 153 gins from the UK won medals. This is up from 96 in 2016.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer froze spirit duty at the Budget in November but consumers still pay the Treasury £8.05 in spirits duty for an average priced bottle of gin. Duty and VAT make a up a staggering 77% of the price on the 'typical shopping' gin.
Figures from the WSTA